Where They Were Sent (1949) [poem] by J.C. Todd

Ice patching ditches and feed troughs shimmers, but
there’s no shiny patch on the hut’s rusted roof.
Fields that snow crusted a day ago are seized
by frost, by frozen shit and barnyard clutter,
the gardens iced-over, their crop cabbage stumps.
These are the man-plowed fields of one-cow farms,
holdings that yield enough to keep the body
alive, not more. When freeze strikes early,
then lengthens past spring, not more is not
enough. Pity the April baby born into
this terrible season. Pity the elder
who sickens in its first jaundiced week.
Here, winter lasts for twelve months,
the rest of the year is summer.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

Refer: This poem refers to Rosalie Morales Kearns’ story “Winter Palace” through a Baltic connection. The poem is situated in post-WW II, Soviet Lithuania.]

Image by Minduagas Galiauskas via Flickr Creative Commons

J. C. Todd’s recent work explores war’s infiltration into daily life. The author of What Space This Body (Wind Publications, 2008), her work has appeared in the Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Big Bridge, Wild River Review, Cleaver and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Leeway Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Baltic Center for Writers and Translators (Sweden), and the Artist House at Schloss Wiepersdorf  (Germany), she is on the faculty of Bryn Mawr College and the MFA Program at Rosemont. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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